Sunday, October 28, 2007


Since the May issue of Foreign Affairs, I've wanted to examine a big clue to new "Powers Dat Be" thinking. Foreign Affairs is the mouthpiece of the Council on Foreign Relations, or CFR, which has about 3,500 members at a given time. The CFR recently admitted actress Angelina Jolie to its ranks, but its core membership is much less attractive, consisting of past presidents, secretaries of State, bankers, spooks, wonks and ideology wankers. Like Henry Kissinger, who sits on its board, the CFR exists to do one simple thing: run the world. As for Foreign Affairs, it modestly declares itself "the most influential publication" in that world. It calls the dance steps, and Washington, Wall Street, think tanks, newspapers, and finally, lowest down on the food chain, the network talking heads, they boil it all down into 'Lord of the Dance' rhetoric and take the show on the road.

Therefore, when Foreign Affairs runs a lead article titled 'The End of National Currency," calling the Almighty Dollar "an absurdity, supported only by faith," while you may not know the exact steps yet, you know the dance just changed. Radically. Less than six months later, here we are with the US dollar worth 90 cents against the Canadian loonie (their $1 coin), and with the Euro climbing relentlessy towards two bucks. The article was tapped out by Benn Steil, whose analysis was neither concise nor communicative on first reading. One might even describe it as veiled. Then, on second reading it was more like, a-ha..."white man speak with forked tongue."

Steil advocates a world financial system based on only three currencies: Euros, Yen, and yes, those Dollars he just referred to as an absurdity. Occasionally, he rather off-handedly advocates buying gold, and makes some fairly elliptical statements about the power of private liquidity. Hard to understand it all without some key information. Here it is: Benn Steil is a hedge fund manager. He wants to let hedge funds be the saviors, or rather the arbitrageurs, of government loans, about 80% of which have Uncle Sam's I.O.U. on them. In essence, he's out to stick a fork in America, and many other countries. Where I said "stick a fork in," he would say, "optimize and transform." As he puts it, "National currencies and global markets do not mix." Well, dust my britches and call me a tumble-weed! If we can just do away with national currencies, we can get on with perfection.

Steil is a flat-out economic royalist, and what he's saying is that national sovereignty (or power to create money, same diff) should be transferred to hedge funds in a final step toward globalization. I repeat: he's calling for the end of national sovereignty. For a New World Order. He's also telling the wealthy they shouldn't worry about this transition, and to calm themselves they should personally buy more gold, in addition to that being quietly accumulated by their hedge-fund portfolios. It's a smart idea anyway, and Central Banks certainly won't need it anymore. Then, since the hedge funds will control the gold, hedge funds will back the currencies. No need for pesos, rubles, or those troublesome Thai bahts. See how simple?

Put 'The End of National Currency' into a context of a Federal Reserve Chairman who once said, "We can drop dollars out of helicopters," and you've got your roadmap. Controlled hyperinflation, dollar devaluation. The plan is for the stock markets to look like they're still going up, which they are. Trouble is, the Dow Jones and the S&P are obsolete as value benchmarks. More meaningfully for me, to a Canadian two hours up the road, my house is cheaper by half compared to 5 years ago. A bargain! As for gold, it's at $790, up from the $440 level I started dabbling at. Since 2002, gold went up 17.5% a year against both the dollar and the yen. A better way to think about it, probably, is that the dollar and yen are equally devalued, and gold is enjoying a return to popularity as certain currencies experience FTQMs (flight to quality moments).

Bottom line, Foreign Affairs is telling rich people to plan on doing business in Euros, and hold core wealth in gold. This is very good advice for rich people. The Rest Of Us dollar rubes, well, we're pretty much screwed for a while. Oh, and by the way: expect that it will be declared illegal for private citizens to hold or conduct business in gold. You'll need the auspices of an off-shore corporation to perform those tasks for you. Preferably, a hedge fund, like the one Benn Steil runs at

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Psyche's News Roundup

Political Affairs Magazine - Leak Reveals Cheney's Plan for Iran Attack

On Track for U.S. Collapse, by Michael S. Rozeff

AlterNet: Blogs: Video: CNN's Jack Cafferty Calls On Viewers to Overthrow Bush [VIDEO]

Rumsfeld flees France fearing arrest | world news

Insanity Is Trump: Bush And The Prudent Man Rule

US agency apologizes for news conference on fires | U.S. | Reuters

Climate - The Future Is Drying Up

Media Matters: Jamison Foser: Matt Drudge's Mini-Me (craprocratic media)

Digby: The Art Of The Hissy Fit | Campaign for America's Future

Matthew Yglesias (October 25, 2007) - The Fit - Internal Dem memo faults party message - Republicans can trigger neurons
called .amygdalae. in the temporal lobe (sounds about right)

Genetic Disorders Hit Amish Hard, Centuries Of Intermarriage Make Rare Diseases More Likely - CBS News

Leaks: Comcast's "We Don't Throttle BitTorrent" Internal Talking Points Memo

Bold Move Pays Off on Flickr (look)

The US Dollar: "Falling With Style"

The head of the IMF is basically saying the dollar's at the edge of a cliff. Iran has been wanting to open a Euro-based oil exchange. The US wants to stop it from doing so. Naj at Iran Facts alerted me to an Iranian news story re: their Minister of Finance visiting Washington for IMF talks. This just after Con-di, Con-di, Con-di threw a sanctions party and nobody came. Maybe it's a great time for a Finance Minister to do some back-room dealing:

WASHINGTON (AFP) — The head of the International Monetary Fund, Rodrigo Rato, warned Monday of a potential "abrupt fall" in the US dollar that could roil the global economy.

"There are risks that an abrupt fall in the dollar could either be triggered by, or itself trigger, a loss of confidence in dollar assets," Rato said at the close of annual meetings here of the IMF and the World Bank.

The outgoing IMF managing director spoke here as the European single currency hit a new high of 1.4347 dollars and global equity markets plunged amid renewed fears a US credit crunch could pitch the world's biggest economy into recession.

"The uncertainty ... comes from downside risks that are much higher than they were six months ago. The turbulence in the credit markets is a warning that we cannot take the benign (global) economic environment of recent years for granted," Rato said on the final day of the annual meetings of the IMF and the World Bank.

"We still do not know the full effects of the decline in the housing market and the subprime problems of the US economy. Further disruption in financial markets and further falls in housing prices could lead to a global economic downturn," he said.

Eww. Better make that visit to the Seven Dwarves' Mine.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Neanderthals, Ethnicity, and Social Darwinism

When I was 5 or so, my Uncle Quig, a rough and jovial, self-educated free-thinker, remarked in passing: "You know, Marcky, you'll hear a lot of people claim the Neanderthals are extinct. But they're not. Just look around you!"

At this remove, it's hard to say whether my good uncle, whom I loved for spoiling me and feared for the tools of mobility and violence he versed me in, was being literal, figurative, or both. Regardless, I have ever since pondered what may have happened to that race, whether they survive at all in our genome, or how they may have influenced humanity's development. Neanderthals are commonly portrayed in speculative science as an inferior design, a deservedly failed race. In truth, it's not at all certain either was the case, and the procedural developments leading to humans as presently composed is, I suspect, much more variegated than reigning orthodoxies suggest.

To the Neanderthals, we must have looked like out-grown children, lacking in menacing brow ridges, our eyes so exposed and unarmored. They may have noted how our cranial sutures never even close completely. On first meetings, they surely would've heard how our throats could make words like bird-song, or even the cooing of babes. Instincts in their equal or greater brain capacities must have been triggered, and they might have even decided on the spot we were comparatively fragile creatures, in need of nurturing.

And nurture the Neanderthals certainly did. Evidence indicates they far outclassed our forebears in that regard. One in five of their found remains come from individuals over 50 years old, data which dumbfounds scientists who study primitive humans. Among sapien remains of the same vintage, attaining the 50 year benchmark of longevity was a comparatively rare achievement. Yet more Neanderthal remains have been found, individuals who reached past 70 or 80, their bones so afflicted with advanced arthritis, for practical purposes they were immobile. Well cared for, nonetheless, apparently with some good sort of Social Security system. Neanderthal graves were covered with flowers. This and a host of other clues point to that race being, in the main, gentle creatures with elaborate rituals and mild manners, not lacking in intelligence. They were recently re-classified as a sub-set of Homo sapiens,
Homo sapiens neanderthalensis.

Facts lurk behind legends. The conceptualized fantasies of dwarves and trolls may echo disdain proto-humans felt for their shorter, squatter, coarse-featured cousins. Yet the two species overlapped for at least 60,000 years. There are clues to what happened. Near the latter part of that period, when Neanderthal artifacts disappear, Cro-Magnons were engaging in hazing rituals. And there is very old evidence of human torture.

For example, rock carvings over 10,000 years old depict hog-tied men in a Sicilian cave. Hog-tying is a simple but extremely effective means of torture, one which allows torturers to kill their victims by the action of leg muscle tension against rope tied around the throat. The victim's innate reflexes ensure death by strangulation, and the torturers can revive them as many times as desired. If you've ever died by strangulation, you know it's an extremely uncomfortable, viscerally terrifying experience, and the ancients from which we come had already perfected this agonizing death by 500 generations ago. Genocide as pastime is voluminously illustrated in our histories, the smallest of ethnic differences have conflated shocking levels of ferocity, and these tendencies would seem to be rather deeply embedded in our DNA. Our evolutionary decisions may have to be made in the space of about 30 seconds, about the length of warning time a select few of our race would receive in the event of an encompassing nuclear war.

At a time when US soldiers are being trained to "bait" Iraqi boys by leaving coils of wire or various objects on the ground so that, when examined and picked up the boys can be shot dead in good conscience, the question of what happened to the Neanderthals seems pretty topical. If we're so willing to hunt our fellows, equal to us in all ways, in naked imitations of The Most Dangerous Game, one wonders what hells were visited on species which represented the Other. Were Neanderthals hunted to extinction for sport? Were they displaced, or replaced? Or were they folded into our bodies and cortices?

The fragments jutting out from the hominid past are so complex that a close replica of humanity's future may already have once lived. It seems likely all the scenarios above occurred in parallel. Gene flow across regions is persistent across human development, so if it was possible for humans to mate and breed with Neanderthals, they did so. My long-held hunch would now be called replacement theory: we interbred routinely, and for a long time. But on average, Neanderthal mothers liked having hybrid human offspring more than (we'll call them Cro-Magnon) human mothers liked having hybrid Neanderthals. While their offspring might have displayed the typical hybrid's hyper-vitality, there may have been some degree of "mulishness" manifested by lower fertility. Even in the absence of active genocide or infertility, social preferences connected with Neanderthal nurturing instincts being triggered by those smooth human baby-faces, would lead to being out-bred and replaced.

Again, it's just a hunch, and scientists are avidly following DNA trails in an effort to settle the cross-breeding arguments. So my speculations could be completely wrong. The general subject, however, brings us right 'round to the prime motive fear of the Clash of Civilizations crowd. Fear of being out-bred. The Neanderthal may have been a more formidable fighter than the humans, and skeletal structures alone support that case. Seeing their numbers dwindle and suffer persecution, Neanderthals may have sometimes retaliated with hostilities, perhaps even burning themselves out in a last gasp in the Europe of 30-40,000 years ago. Now as then, aggression comes in many forms, and the use of passive aggression in modern regional-cultural settings should yield far better survival profiles than confrontational models currently being applied to such futile effect. This would also allow for the preservation and promotion of ethnicities, and excellent means of hedging bets for species survival. We'll see if I'm right about that Neanderthal DNA, and if we figure out how to make it.

Psyche's News Roundup

Raw Story | War cost 40 times higher than estimates; $8,000 per man, woman child in US

Raw Story | Iraqi blood is 'on your hands,' anti-war protester tells Condi

Gov't Auditors Warned Bush Administration About Poor Firefighting Plans

Firedoglake: FISA: Richardson's In - Biden, Obama, Dodd all standing up for the rule of law

Glenn Greenwald -- Salon - AL: The raw politics of telecom immunity (well put)

Election Central | Talking Points Memo | Obama Camp Says It: He'll Support Filibuster Of Any Bill Containing Telecom Immunity(!)

The Collapse of Bush's Foreign Policy |

NPR : Dems Test Bush's Pledge to Veto Budget-Busters (Bush's billions for war)

Tilting the Scales of Justice - New York Times

Corporations Versus Democracy

TPMmuckraker | Talking Points Memo | Contractors Could Leave Iraq in Immunity Change

Sadly, No! : Death, Be Thee Proud And Take Me Now: Gregg Easterbrook is at it again

Deke Trudeau on Deke Bush and "branding" at Phi (always been into torture)

Crooks and Liars Rep. Dana Rohrbacher, Torture Apologist Extraordinaire

Behind Enemy Lines With a Suburban Counterterrorist

Media Matters - MSNBC's Carlson "outraged" by discussion of Giuliani's marriages -- but not the Clintons' (wanker)

Firedoglake - Just Call Him Slummy Joe (Lieberman is a slumlord)

Santorum says Islam "not just something you do on Sunday" - The Carpetbagger Report

Think Progress O.Reilly: J.K. Rowling Is A Provocateur for Gay Indoctrination

"Terrorist Buster" Logo . Central Intelligence Agency (what are they thinking?)

Home Sales Plunge by 8 Percent: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance

Merrill 3Q Roiled by Mortgage Crisis: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance

Reason Magazine - The Worst Mayor in America Meet Jackson, Mississippi's Frank Melton

AlterNet: DrugReporter: Getting Real About the Economics of Cocaine

American kids, dumber than dirt: the biggest pile of idiots in U.S. history

Damn Interesting - Not Your Average Summer Camp

Neatorama Blog Archive: Eleven Days Awake

Gmail gets IMAP - Download Squad

Lifehacker Top 10: Top 10 Google Products You Forgot All About

Wolfram Blog: The Prize Is Won; The Simplest Universal Turing Machine

Matthew Yglesias - Higazy - even when your banana republic antics get caught and exposed, you can use the cover of national security secrets to keep the facts obscured.

TPM | Mostest | Huckabee, himself a Baptist minister, actually told a crowd yesterday that "most" of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were "clergymen."

Neocons Surge Against Antiwar Movement |

Iran seen to need 3-8 yrs to produce bomb - Yahoo! News

Walking a nuclear tightrope - Haaretz - Israel News

Money Market Investors Face Latest Worry -

Whiskey Fire: Militant Babies Came to Me (mean girls)

Flickr: California and Wildfire taken after 10/19/2007

Earnings: Apple now worth more than IBM

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Leonard Cohen, Vienna and Wien: Take This Waltz

For centuries Vienna is where holy fools and spies have gone to play. You can almost let your guard down there. An agonist and fellow adventure-seeker code-named Cassandra immersed me in the acid bath of Leonard Cohen when we lived an ineffably synergistic existence. Since then, I can't think of going over snowy mountain passes on urgently meaningless errands, pulling boot-leg turns into precious parking spots, or stumbling through the dark and bumping into trees trying to find some drafty godforsaken castle containing the Byrons, the Percys and the Shelleys without thinking of L. Cohen.

There are really ten pretty women in Vienna. A shoulder where doves come to cry. A lobby with 900 windows. There's the permeating air of waltzes, breaths of brandy and death dragging their tails in the sea. Duties of latitude, love and geopolitics drew us apart but among other things I refuse sentiments about, Cohen stuck to me like glue. He's insistently maudlin and rather annoying. But I gotta admit, he cut up the limbs of Vienna like a contractor working over a bath tub, stuffing the amputated parts into a still and boiling them down into moonshine. The song is the town, and vice-versa:

Now in Vienna there's ten pretty women
There's a shoulder where Death comes to cry
There's a lobby with nine hundred windows
There's a tree where the doves go to die
There's a piece that was torn from the morning
And it hangs in the Gallery of Frost
Ay, Ay, Ay, Ay
Take this waltz, take this waltz
Take this waltz with the clamp on its jaws
Oh I want you, I want you, I want you
On a chair with a dead magazine
In the cave at the tip of the lily
In some hallways where love's never been
On a bed where the moon has been sweating
In a cry filled with footsteps and sand
Ay, Ay, Ay, Ay
Take this waltz, take this waltz
Take its broken waist in your hand

This waltz, this waltz, this waltz, this waltz
With its very own breath of brandy and Death
Dragging its tail in the sea

There's a concert hall in Vienna
Where your mouth had a thousand reviews
There's a bar where the boys have stopped talking
They've been sentenced to death by the blues
Ah, but who is it climbs to your picture
With a garland of freshly cut tears?
Ay, Ay, Ay, Ay
Take this waltz, take this waltz
Take this waltz it's been dying for years

There's an attic where children are playing
Where I've got to lie down with you soon
In a dream of Hungarian lanterns
In the mist of some sweet afternoon
And I'll see what you've chained to your sorrow
All your sheep and your lilies of snow
Ay, Ay, Ay, Ay
Take this waltz, take this waltz
With its "I'll never forget you, you know!"

This waltz, this waltz, this waltz, this waltz ...

And I'll dance with you in Vienna
I'll be wearing a river's disguise
The hyacinth wild on my shoulder,
My mouth on the dew of your thighs
And I'll bury my soul in a scrapbook,
With the photographs there, and the moss
And I'll yield to the flood of your beauty
My cheap violin and my cross
And you'll carry me down on your dancing
To the pools that you lift on your wrist
Oh my love, Oh my love--
Take this waltz, take this waltz
It's yours now. It's all that there is!

Feist: Secret Heart

You know the drill. Listen. Lyrics. Read. This very secret that you're trying to conceal is the very same one that you're dying to reveal. Go tell him how you feel. This song was written by Ron Sexsmith, also a Canadian, and Feist covers it such that you can't tell it's not by her:

Secret heart
What are you made of
What are you so afraid of
Could it be
Three simple words
Or the fear of being overheard
What's wrong

Let em' in on your secret heart

Secret Heart
Why so mysterious
Why so sacred
Why so serious
Maybe you're
Just acting tough
Maybe you're just not man enough
What's wrong

Let em' in on your secret heart

This very secret
That you're trying to conceal
Is the very same one
That You're dying to reveal
Go tell him how you feel

Secret heart come out and share it
This loneliness, few can bear it
Could it have something to do with
Admitting that you just can't go through it alone?

Let em' in on your secret heart

This very secret
That you're trying to conceal
Is the very same one
That you're dying to reveal
Go tell him how you feel
This very secret heart

Go out and share it
This very secret heart

Polity, Declination, And Re-Boot, Pt. VII: Cheney-Gonzales 2008

Remember a teen-age ago, when the Cold War was over? At root, theories of governance are disagreements about how best to generate and apportion wealth. Precious few sources provide good views into the consequences. Rare is the surgeon of the human condition who can, more or less healthy and equally, be both dispassionate and sane. We didn't change the horsemen mid-Apocalypse.

I went to witness the Cold War's presumed end. I wanted to see Germany re-unify from the considered distance of an impregnable mountain redoubt in Switzerland. To me, re-unification seemed a certainty. An ecclesiastical organization I worked for bought land near Leipzig in 1983, when the Stasi still reigned supreme as the most ruthless, pervasive secret terror-service in the world. They knew what was up, and as a functionary I saw them break ground with a golden spade.

Then, on one rainy day in November, 1989, East Germans were allowed to travel freely to the West. There were celebrations, young German engineers leaping around for joy in my office, I mean they were really leaping, crying for joy, glasnost busting out all over the place. You don't see Germans do this much. Not unless they've maybe annihilated Caesar's legions in Teutoberger Wald or polished off a couple genocides. I misted up pretty good myself, and the beers and Jaegermeister helped. But at the same time I was thinking, "You poor bastards. Just wait until you see the bats. The Cold War's not over 'til we say so, bee-yatch."

Being a cynic was not my preference. Yet all the ideologies, philosophies, and theories which have steeped and brewed the world's conflicts for the past 50-60 years haven't changed, and they aren't exactly heading for detente anytime soon. After the wall was chunk by chunk hammered on down, I flew into New York to see my Wall Street mentor, a girl, and in a strange coincidence Robert DeNiro's Orthodox Jewish butler. Who was a cousin of Meir Kahane. My comparatively stable mentor was Joseph Palmeri. Over breakfast one Saturday morn in Tribeca he said that the stock market was primed to go up on "The Peace Dividend." Ever the sophisticate, I started to laugh but instead inhaled a fair portion of my blueberry and whipped-cream pancake (god, Joe, that was a great breakfast. Thank you forever.).

When the obstruction had mostly worked its way out of my lungs, my voice wheezed out through my tears: "Peace dividend?! Wha-da-fa? Yeltsin will be lucky to be alive in 6 months. The chances of a civil war are 50-50. Either way, generals will be looking to sell nuclear warheads, a third of which are in the Ukraine, gonna haul ass out of the Union. The Saint Pete girls really knock me out. Oh, yeah. Almost forgot. We're going to invade Baghdad. Is that the Peace Dividend?"

At the time, I had never heard of Leo Strauss or Paul Wolfowitz, and my mental space was nearly devoid of Dick Cheney. Blissfully so. Well. Once you name something, you can begin to deal with it. The Cheney. Drawing distinctions between communism, socialism, fascism, or capitalism is past history. A waste of time. I've been wondering what the word "conservative" means, and what's "neo-liberal" supposed to mean anyway? Does Webster's apply anymore? Up is down, down is up. Labels, logos, and brands often stoop to dishonesty, and all I know is they have pretty colors and always seem to say "New and Improved" on the laundry detergents. So let's apply Adam and Eve's naming power anew.

There are only two competing philosophies that matter today. One is the idea of purely free, unfettered Year-Zero market capitalism. The other philosophy is espoused by people who think massively inefficient regulations and standards are still needed. Free market utopianism, once derided as idiotic, is now as orthodox as Nike T-shirts made in Sri Lanka. Corporatism rules every meaningful roost. Regulations and standards are old hat, as if we wear hats anymore. I wear freebie caps when it rains, and when it's friggin' pourin', my friends. Effulgent markets decree that we should lay in a ready stock of RPGs. You Eagle Scouts should secure some 60 millimeter mortars. Very handy. I mean, look at Liberia, or Darfur. The Suzuki Sidekick, it's the Official Car of the Tsutsi Rebels. Good for mobile artillery, and an enterprising fellow could make some real money there. Back in '03 I wanted to fly to Baghdad in a bad way, and Lord Wife was dead serious about not letting me. Something in my gut told me they were flying 363 tons of $100 bills there, and that they'd spread out near and far. Lord Baby was new at the time, and my corporate prostitution conviction was recent.

The Cold War? Never cold. Never over. Russia, Iran, China and even Brazil are still out there stalking cozy Midwesterners sleeping soundly on their Sealy Spring-Air Mattresses. But speaking of cold...the Arctic Circle's warming up a little every day, you can still stake out a claim and make a killing. The Four Horsemen are hopped up on meth, Lipitor, and cumiden. They're running loose and free, and Cheney-Gonzales can still make the ticket in '08. If they run much further, please: Jesus Christ, Father in Heaven and the Holy Ghost help us. They hold the bridles yet, and could still win.

Obama Speaks English Again

There's a lot of pressure on candidates to avoid risk, to talk tough, to elide and not say what they mean. Barack Obama was roundly press-crucified for saying that he wouldn't nuke Iran, naive as that notion may be. He retreated into cautious inanities for a couple of months, and his poll numbers dropped. Meanwhile Hillary Clinton, in effect, voted for legislation that gives the current Occupiers the go-ahead to attack Iran in connection to prestidigitations into Iraq. This gave Obama an opening to definitively call BS on Her Clintonessa. His passion and intellect pulse for real, and he's still one of us. Hillary has passed far beyond us, on into the frozen lands of fairy maidens.

While there would be a foreign policy pragmatism gain if Hillary gets elected, there won't be any substantive change in the Empire's stance with regards to the Mid-East, or war footing, or energy policy. Better to give money to Obama, Chris Dodd, or Ron Paul. They want to change the equation in a fundamental way and stop the Dracula Strategy. Hillary's on board the Status Quo like a jump-suited Pro-Ho in a purple pimp-mobile. An improvement on sheer idiocy, sure, but she's been anointed with unholy oils and is up for a crude awakening. Obama's lighting her up again, which is Real Good. Read his statements in bold below and please tell me if they don't make sense:

DES MOINES, Iowa - Democrat Barack Obama has stepped up criticism of front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton, sending Iowans a mailing noting that he opposed a measure that critics warn could lead to war with Iran and was supported by Clinton.

"Barack Obama opposed another Bush foreign policy fiasco," said the mailing, being sent to thousands of homes on Tuesday.

At issue is a measure in the Senate which declared Iran's Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization, which Obama called "conventional" while campaigning in New Hampshire.

"What I've insisted is, we have to completely rethink foreign policy and diplomacy. ... We have to talk not just to our friends but also to our enemies. That includes Iran. That includes Syria," Obama said at a house party in Merrimack, N.H.

Clinton voted in favor of the Senate measure. She defended her vote over the weekend, saying she did so only after language which could be interpreted as an authorization of the use of force was removed.

Clinton sent a mailing to Iowa activists explaining her vote. It included comments from retired Gen. Wesley Clark and Illinois Sen. Richard Durbin siding with Clinton's vote.

Obama countered with his own mailing on Tuesday.

"Why is this amendment so dangerous?" Obama's mailing said. "Because George Bush and Dick Cheney could use this language to justify keeping our troops in Iraq as long as they can point to a threat from Iran, and because they could use this language to justify an attack on Iran as part of the ongoing war in Iraq."

Responding to the mailing, Clinton spokesman Mark Daley said: "If Senator Obama really thinks this is an issue of war and peace, it's odd that he didn't speak out against the measure before it passed or show up to vote against it. That's not the kind of strength and leadership Iowans are looking for."

The dispute goes to a fundamental disagreement between Obama and Clinton.

Obama routinely criticizes Clinton for voting in favor of authorizing the use of force in Iraq, a move he opposed even though he had yet to be elected to the Senate. He says that shows he has "judgment we can trust," while Clinton's judgment is flawed despite her experience in Washington.

Clinton has said only she would not have voted to authorize the use of force if she knew at the time what she now knows. She blames flawed intelligence.

In New Hampshire, Obama said the debate is representative of the campaign's larger differences.

"We have very good candidates on the Democratic side," he said. "The question, though, is whether you are going to nominate a candidate who is not just tinkering around the edges or can bring about real change."

Iran Facts Update: Earth Moves Under Thy Feet

Update: Talks in Rome held, and successful too, According to Solana.
In this picture, he is shaking hands with the resigned negotiator, Dr. Larijani. Iranians showed a united front, and willingness to negotiate peaceful solution.

I am beginning to romanticize the cleverness of the Iranian government, wondering with a satisfied grin: was the resignation a part of the choreography?

More than 180 Iranian MPs have signed a letter praising former chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani, who has resigned from his post.

The deputy speaker of Iran's parliament has said that Mr Larijani resigned because he could no longer work with Mr. Ahmadinejad, confirming suspicions that they had fallen out on policy, and possibly personality as well.

This means Ahmadinejad's in trouble!

This indicates that if Ahmadinejad deviates from the expressed wishes of the supreme leadership and the parliament, he will be in constitutional trouble! That, Larijani attended the Rome talks as representative of the supreme leader is already alluding to to exposed rift between Iran's ruling factions. However, it seems that the so called "islamo-fascist-dictatorship" in Iran is acting more responsibly and more democratically than that of the US of A!

Mr Velayati, the former war-time foreign minister- now senior foreign policy adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has expressed objection to Ahmadinejad accepting Larijani's resignation: "In the very important and sensitive situation where the nuclear issue is at the moment it would be better if this [resignation] did not happen, or at least it was prevented".

According to Velayati (read the voice of supreme leader on foreign matters) pragmatists believe in negotiating with the international community and talk of following the path of Japan.

It would be becoming worrisome however, if Ahmadinejad takes a radical stance against the supreme leader. He has been showing Komeini-ist megalomaniac symptoms, and he has been capitalizing on the capitalist corruption of those who are opposing him at this moment. Khomeini's radicalism has done great harm to Iran. I doubt this rookie is afraid to fall in the same Neo-Con trap that his spiritual leader fell, 30 years ago!

(Editor's Opinion: Ahmadinejad seems to be losing control of his "Base." Like in the US, the clerics in Iran hold the minority position, but the most concentrated power. Except in Iran, they will act functionally, meet, and deal. Khameini is the dealer, and by comparison to our crazies, he's taking a "first do no harm" approach. Larijani resigned in order to free himself from A-jad, and he's still very much in the negotiating driver's seat as evidenced in Rome. Iran's end game? It wants nuclear power so it can generate electricity and doesn't have to burn or export so much oil. It's reserves are wildly overstated, and its oil fields are in collapse. The objective is NOT to nuke Israel, screeching harpies notwithstanding. The contract for providing nuclear power generation is now at play between Russia, the US, and France. Thanks to Naj at Iran Facts for the high-quality local insight.)

The Return Of Containment & Hope

"The first, the supreme, the most far-reaching act of judgment that the statesman and commander must make is to establish...the kind of war on which they are embarking; neither mistaking it for, nor trying to turn it into, something that is alien to its nature."


(Update: I posted this back in May, and am re-posting it for its topicality to positive developments on the Iranian front, and to positive statements by Democratic candidates with regards to foreign policy, Obama and even Hillary among them. Will append Hillary's foreign policy platform later.)

Clausewitz translation: fight stupid wars, and pretty soon you'll leave broken monuments. Von Clausewitz would've chortled schnapps out of his nose at the Bush Doctrine. Attacking and occupying Iraq grossly conflated a minor but thorny enemy into an empire-ending emetic. It was a full-court embarkation onto a fool's parade of twisted alien natures and wars which can't be won. It's time to cut the losses and reach back to strategies which proved successful.

George F. Kennan was a time-and-motion foreign policy genius (the anti-Bismarck), and he was the promulgator of "Containment." In context, Containment was a long-term, non-violent way of defeating an inimical, hostile form of government, a way of lowering confrontational temperatures down into a non-military zone. Kennan would know about that. He was SecDef under Truman from 1947-48, a time when many in the U.S., England, and Germany, including George S. Patton and a chorus of ex-Nazis believed there was no good alternative but to invade and defeat Stalinist Russia. The lower the temperature, the more it favored us.

Kennan convinced Truman and the planners around him, with a series of well-reasoned articles, to buy enough time for flawed, inferior, murderous, centrally planned communist systems to fall. He knew we didn't need to attack them directly because they would consume and probably reform themselves. Kennan was probably the biggest anti-communist of all time, and I became his disciple in the early 80's because his doctrine of strong-point containment had the courage to express and exercise a simple confidence in democracy. He believed we would win out, and thus didn't need to attack Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, El Salvador, Grenada, Haiti, or other places. Kennan believed it would be better to out-invest Russia and China than to out-kill them. He made sense to me then, and he makes sense to me now. None of those wars needed to happen to defeat communism, and he encouraged not a single one of them. All the crucial battles between democracy and communism were about making people healthier and happier than the other guy did. Sometimes that was hard for both sides to understand.

Ian Shapiro, a Yale Professor and biographer of George F. Kennan, was on the local NPR show the other morning. He was talking lots of sense that morning, so I called in and slid past the producer with an inane, innocent question, something like "I'd like to invite Dr. Shapiro to speculate about when Containment will make a comeback." But when the producer patched me in, I asked Shapiro on the air with extravagant politeness: "How long until this goddamned %@%^*-t ends?"

"Soon, my friend," he said. "Very soon."

Monday, October 22, 2007

Hidden Histories & The Bombing Of Benazhir Bhutto

[Caught in sensual music all neglect the monuments of unaging intellect. At night old friends and such as me ate sushi in a Boomtown restaurant. At one point we discussed the assassination attempt on Benazhir Bhutto.]

What a terrible thing, hundreds of people blown apart. How big that bomb must've been.

Terrible for us, too.

Really? How so?

It's so because as you know we caused atomic bombs to be given to ul-Haq, the general who killed Bhutto's father in '79. Who went to Berkeley, by the way.

Tsha! Berkeley. Hotbed for hippie socialists.

First, we didn't trust India and still don't. The Bomb was quid pro quo for setting the biggest CIA station ever up in Islamabad. The Saudi Foreign Legion loaded donkeys with weapons, the donkeys climbed with Stinger missiles through the Wazir passes. Russian boys same age as me back then were riding around in trucks so they could get ambushed. The missiles messed up the helicopters, shot down some generals. The soldiers and half Russia got messed up on smack. With the Bomb, the CIA and Foggy Bottom raised alarms and tried to stop it but they got trumped and stifled by the same guys who run this Tom Clancy shit right now.

C'mon, you're talking crazy we would never have done no such thing. Give the bomb away to a bunch of Islamic fascists? No way.

Weren't you just foretelling how thin the world's thread is hanging and how the stock market's life should be feared? Whatever. Believe what they tell you Sunday morning. Pakistan has the nukes, it's got the people who'll use them. The means to deliver them. Probably the same people who tried to off Bhutto's daughter. Musharraf is so desperate to keep the lid on that he's bringing her in to form a coalition. The whole thing depends on a few people staying alive. Kinda like the country formerly known as Yugoslavia, but with nukes.

Stop it, you're cheering us up. Maybe you should go on Meet the Press! Talking like you're some kind of expert.

Yeah right. Monuments to our magnificence. They press the meat so flat we can receive wisdom like pizzas. Sing, baby, sing. Well maybe the truth can't compete with the Kabuki. But when the spin is spun and forgotten the truth stays in the ground like veins of gold. They stay put, can't get rid of 'em. They're right there waiting on forensics like CSI. Even after a thousand years someone like Ed Gibbon comes along, digs 'em up and sings out to Byzantium. He was way into the Roman Empire because he was thinking so hard about his own.

So you're saying Pakistan's going to go up?

Yep. Not saying they'll nuke somebody for sure, but maybe. If it happens, it'll escalate. And all this Iran shit is just a scarecrow. They want to bomb the only stable thing on the whole damned yellow brick road. Crazy mother#&*%ers. That axis of evil they kept pushing, it's stuck smack dab into Pakistan. Strapped onto us like a suicide bomb. Hey, I hear they're making a movie about Afghanistan called Charlie Wilson's War. Tom Hanks is in it. He's doing fantastic stuff now.

Yeah. I loved Band of Brothers. Let's drink to that. To Bands of Brothers, and to America!

[Clink. Clink. Clink.]

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Prozac The Clown & William Bennett Do Las Vegas

[Prat-falling off the Segway he was slumped onto, Prozac makes his entrance to the Family Research Council Conference's day care facility. A crowd of impeccably-scrubbed kids lose their composure, whooping with schadenfreude-steeped joy .]

Hiya, boys and girls! I'm here because Bill the Bennett, one of the greatest clowns in the whole white world, my esteemed colleague and drinking bu...very close friend, is upstairs talking to your parents right now. So he sent Prozac! Prozac'll tell ya right now, kiddies, he can't hold a candle to the Bennett when it comes to dosing out a case of the clown crazies. But what he can
do is...this! [Prozac turns, then runs full-speed into the wall, nearly knocking himself unconscious, reeling and collapsing on the floor. The children squeal with ear-splitting hysterical ecstasy.]

Toot-toot! Sheesh, those walls sure can sneak up on you! And that's just what Bill the Bennett would tell you if he were here. In fact, it's what he's saying to your mommies and daddies in the Big Room upstairs right now:

"Battlefield surrender comes from cultural surrender. Cultural surrender comes from befuddlement."

Let Prozac explain what that means. See, Bill the Bennett is a very smart clown, and he's also very brave. With his own two eyes, Prozac has seen Bill stay up all night at Caesar's Palace playing high-stakes Black Jack. What he means is, the wall that snuck up and hurt Prozac is just like the Liberal Media. That's right. Liberals are losing a war against Bad People, who want to come here and hurt your mommies and daddies. Bad People want to come here and hurt you, too. How bad are they? Well, for one thing, they would burn down all the McDonald's and Burger Kings everywhere. So you could never have another milkshake ever again! That's how bad! [Prozac makes his sad face, the children get totally quiet and little creased frowns of worry build upon their brows.]

Hey, c'mon you great little Americans, don't you worry. Not even for a minute. We're going to kick Bad People Booty. Toot-toot! And here's a little hint from your buddy Prozac, to make you look smart to your parents. So smart they'll buy you a milkshake and all the fries you want. So: when you're going home with them in your SUV, tell them that the Nazis only surrendered because their Liberal Media confused everybody with defeatism. And Japan's "Left Wing" [Prozac flaps left arm, holds nose] got "befuddled" by Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

What's defeatism? Very good question from the little girl in the yellow dress. Well, it's spelled d-e-a-f...whatever, defeatism means you love to lose. And only sick people, like Liberals, do that! And befuddled means, ah, messed up. Tell your parents the next time you see someone from the Liberal Media, you're going to kick them in the bee-hind, and that you need to eat a Big Mac right away, so you can grow up big and strong and dish out lots of Collateral Damage.

Ok, you got it? Liberal Media! Defeatism! Milk Shake and Big Mac. Aww, you're such good boys and girls, and Prozac loves you all. But he knows Bill the Bennett must be feeling a mite parched right about now, so he's gotta go help out before it's an emergency. [Prozac precariously mounts his Segway.] Now, do you remember the Prozac Motto? That's right: Take Your Ritalin, Be a Good Citizen!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Feist: Mushaboom

There's a way to slide between conventions, to honor the angry young pogo-punk inside and yet insinuate yourself into folk, pulling the sweetness of pop along with you and distilling the last sweet drops of Rilke's fruits and vines into music. Linda Feist proves it. It's possible that Sid Vicious could've metamorphosed from screeching "God Save the Queen, She's not a Human Been" to writing Windham Hill music, but it didn't happen. Feist is better, like a mescal worm into a purple butterfly. I know damn well she gave it her all, tried like so much hell that she ripped out her vocal cords. Yet now you can listen to her effortless songs, roll them up and throw them away without a second thought. Then the spell she wove takes hold, the wind changes direction and blows them back at you, her words and music shellacked in lilac sticky-stuff and buttercups that won't let go. Which is ok by me, and I promise, it'll be ok by you, too. Somewhere along the way, this woman swallowed magic beans, and grew.


Helping the kids out of their coats
But wait the babies haven't been born oh
Unpacking the bags and setting up
And planting lilacs and buttercups oh

But in the meantime we've got it hard
Second floor living without a yard
It may be years until the day
My dreams will match up with my pay

Old dirt road,
(mushaboom, mushaboom)
knee deep snow
(mushaboom, mushaboom)
Watching the fire as we grow
(mushaboom, mushaboom)

I got a man to stick it out
And make a home from a rented house oh
And we'll collect the moments one by one
I guess that's how the future's done oh

How many acres, how much light
Tucked in the woods and out of sight
Talk to the neighbours and tip my cap
On a little road barely on the map

Old dirt road,
mushaboom, mushaboom)
knee deep snow
mushaboom, mushaboom)
Watching the fire as we grow,
mushaboom, mushaboom)
(mushaboom, mushaboom)
Old dirt road rambling rose
(mushaboom, mushaboom)
Watching the fire as we grow
(mushaboom, mushaboom)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Psyche's News Roundup

TPMmuckraker | Verizon illegal spying for Bush

The Raw Story | Verizon provided data to Feds 720 times without court order or determining its legality

Think Progress CBS, Logan: We're doing badly in Iraq. (and hiding dead soldiers so everyone thinks it's hunky-dory)

The Real Iraq We Knew - (more "phony soldiers")

Think Progress Right Wing Gleefully Smears Two Yr-Old SCHIP Recipient Bethany Wilkerson (swift-boating the children)

I am an American Soldier in Iraq, Right Now

'Failure Risks Devastating Consequences' - The New York Review of Books

Media Matters - Limbaugh says he told journalist writing story on him: "We're going to find out where your kids go to school"

naked capitalism: Further Developments on the SIV Rescue Front

Cancer Monthly InFocus Blog Archive: Vitamin C and Cancer

Clinton on Iran: All options must remain on table | Politics | Reuters (nuke 'em, Hillary)

Glenn Greenwald - Salon Telecom Amnesty would forever foreclose investigation of vital issues (really the point, right?)

Gore Derangement Syndrome - New York Times By Paul Krugman (Americans prefer stupid)

Bush 'planted fake news stories on American TV' - Independent Online Edition > Americas

The Raw Story | Wisconsin GOP chair faces charges in enticement of teenage boy (add him to the list of Repervlicans)

Ezra Klein: There Is So Much For Us Of Little Faith: Lee Siegel (leap of faith and falls on face)
American lawbreaking: How laws die: - By Tim Wu - Slate Magazine (and democracies)

YouTube - Buried 60 minutes interview (Paul O'Neill: Bush planned Iraq before 9/11))

National Post Attack on Gore a Last Gasp from Some Sore Losers | DeSmogBlog

Booman Tribune - Halperin Creates The Page (more Drudges)
Talking Points Memo | Kurtz: The Kid Had It Comin' (why Kurtz has no soul)

Romney loses NV straw poll - (MSNBC's way of saying Ron Paul won)

Media Matters - article contains language nearly identical to WorldNetDaily article, including falsehood (conveyor belt of bullshit)

YaHooka Forums - - First Lucid Dream - Frightening (takes acid in dream)

Is there life on a moon of Saturn? | Science | The Observer

Gawker and the Rage of the Creative Underclass -- New York Magazine

MediaStorm: Kingsley's Crossing by Olivier Jobard

Banks Admit Depth Of Mortgage Crisis

There are still articles being published with titles like, "Will the SubPrime Crisis Lead to a Recession?" Well, the banks are so sure that it will they've decided to pool a $100 billion firewall for emergency liquidity. This is the banking equivalent of a deer-in-the-headlights, stare-into-the-abyss, House-of-Seven-Gables look.

Wall Street investment banks, being the perps in this equation, knew exactly how bad they were raping the market, and what was coming. So they bundled up mortgages into CDOs (Certified Debt Obligations) layering multiple types of loans, or "tranches" into them, just like a movie drug dealer puts a couple layers of the good product on top and the stamped-on toxic crap underneath. Then they got bond-rating agencies like Moody's and Standard & Poors to put AA ratings on them and proceeded to sell them to regular European and Asian banks. Otherwise known as "the victims."

Actually, taxpayers and holders of dollars are the victims. For a double-whammy, The Fed has chosen to hyperinflate the dollar in order to keep the stock market chugging along. They'll call the inflation "stimulus." I'm not an expert on banking, but a woman I know said something prophetic once: "Under everything is the land." Somehow it seems doubtful that $100 Billion is going to be enough for the "Master-Liquidity Enhancement Conduit," and that governments will be called in with the bail-out buckets.

Via: Wall Street Journal:

In a far-reaching response to the global credit crisis, Citigroup Inc. and other big banks are discussing a plan to pool together and financially back as much as $100 billion in shaky mortgage securities and other investments.

The banks met three weeks ago in Washington at the Treasury Department, which convened the talks and is playing a central advisory role, people familiar with the situation said. The meeting was hosted by Treasury's undersecretary for domestic finance, Robert Steel, a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. official and the top domestic finance adviser to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. The Federal Reserve has been kept informed but has left the active role to the Treasury.

The new fund is designed to stave off what Citigroup and others see as a threat to the financial markets world-wide: the danger that dozens of huge bank-affiliated funds will be forced to unload billions of dollars in mortgage-backed securities and other assets, driving down their prices in a fire sale. That could force big write-offs by banks, brokerages and hedge funds that own similar investments and would have to mark them down to the new, lower market prices.

The ultimate fear: If banks need to write down more assets or are forced to take assets onto their books, that could set off a broader credit crunch and hurt the economy. It could make it tough for homeowners and businesses to get loans. Efforts so far by central banks to alleviate the credit crunch that has been roiling markets since the summer haven't fully calmed investors, leading to the extraordinary move to bring together the banks.

In recent weeks, investors have grown concerned about the size of bank-affiliated funds that have invested huge sums in securities tied to shaky U.S. subprime mortgages and other assets. Citigroup, the world's biggest bank by market value, has drawn special scrutiny because it is the largest player in this market.

Citigroup has nearly $100 billion in seven affiliated structured investment vehicles, or SIVs. Globally, SIVs had $400 billion in assets as of Aug. 28, according to Moody's.

Such vehicles are formally independent of the banks that create them. They issue their own short-term debt, usually at relatively low interest rates reflecting their high credit rating. The vehicles use the money to buy higher-yielding longer-term assets such as securities tied to mortgages or receivables from midsize businesses seeking to raise cash.

Many SIVs had trouble rolling over their short-term debt in August because of concerns about the quality of their assets. That contributed to the broader seizing up of credit markets.

The Financial Services Authority, the United Kingdom's markets regulator, has suggested that U.K. banks consider participating in the plan, a person familiar with the situation said. HSBC Holdings PLC, the largest U.K. bank, has an affiliate SIV called Cullinan Finance Ltd. with $35 billion in senior debt. An HSBC representative wasn't immediately available to comment.

If the banks agree, the plan could be announced as early as Monday, people familiar with the matter said. Citigroup announces third-quarter earnings Monday. The tentative name for the fund is Master-Liquidity Enhancement Conduit, or M-LEC.

Insanity. It's what's for dinner. In hell. If implemented, the TSA proposal means all airline passengers will have to undergo security checks to get permission to travel. Boarding passes will be denied at whims, and it seems domestic travel is included. If so, this is how the Thing Which Can't Be Named will clamp down. Travel to the US is already down by 10% since 2001. Boy, I can really see this reversing the trend! Via the Register:

Under new rules proposed by the Transport Security Administration (TSA) (pdf), all airline passengers would need advance permission before flying into, through, or over the United States regardless of citizenship or the airline's national origin.

Currently, the Advanced Passenger Information System, operated by the Customs and Border Patrol, requires airlines to forward a list of passenger information no later than 15 minutes before flights from the US take off (international flights bound for the US have until 15 minutes after take-off). Planes are diverted if a passenger on board is on the no-fly list.

The new rules mean this information must be submitted 72 hours before departure. Only those given clearance will get a boarding pass. The TSA estimates that 90 to 93 per cent of all travel reservations are final by then.

The proposed rules require the following information for each passenger: full name, sex, date of birth, and redress number (assigned to passengers who use the Travel Redress Inquiry Program because they have been mistakenly placed on the no-fly list), and known traveller number (once there is a programme in place for registering known travellers whose backgrounds have been checked). Non-travellers entering secure areas, such as parents escorting children, will also need clearance.

The TSA held a public hearing in Washington DC on 20 September, which heard comments from both privacy advocates and airline industry representatives from Qantas, the Regional Airline Association, IATA, and the American Society of Travel Agents. The privacy advocates came from the American Civil Liberties Union and the Identity Project. All were negative.

The proposals should be withdrawn entirely, argued Edward Hasbrouck, author of The Practical Nomad and the leading expert on travel data privacy. "Obscured by the euphemistic language of 'screening' is the fact that travellers would be required to get permission before they can travel."

Hasbrouck submitted that requiring clearance in order to travel violates the US First Amendment right of assembly, the central claim in John Gilmore's case against the US government over the requirement to show photo ID for domestic travel.

In addition, the TSA is required to study the impact of the proposals on small economic entities (such as sole traders). Finally, the TSA provides no way for individuals to tell whether their government-issued ID is actually required by law, opening the way for rampant identity theft.

ACLU's Barry Steinhardt quoted press reports of 500,000 to 750,000 people on the watch list (of which the no-fly list is a subset). "If there are that many terrorists in the US, we'd all be dead."

TSA representative Kip Hawley noted that the list has been carefully investigated and halved over the last year. "Half of grossly bloated is still bloated," Steinhardt replied.

The airline industry representatives' objections were largely logistical. They argued that the 60-day timeframe the TSA proposes to allow for implementation from the publication date of the final rules is much too short. They want a year to revamp many IT systems, especially, as the Qantas representative said, as no one will start until they're sure there will be no further changes.

In addition, many were concerned about the impact on new, convenient and cash-saving technologies, such as checking in at home, or storing a boarding pass in a PDA.

One additional point, also raised by Hasbrouck: the data the TSA requires will be collected by the airlines who presumably will keep it for their own purposes – a "government-coerced informational windfall", he called it.

The third parties who actually do much of the airline industry's data processing, the Global Distribution Systems and Computer Reservations Systems, were missing from the hearing.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

How Corporations See Blogs

"They destroy brands and wreck lives! Is there any way to fight back?"

Nice to see that the knights who fight for the Divine Right of Capital are offended by blogs. ("It's all just so unfair!") China just shut off all RSS (Real Simple Syndication) feeds going into it, and now sits behind a great Information Wall. That probably won't happen here, but likely there will be regulations, and punishments, making it difficult to denigrate "brands."

Smart corporations reach out to blogs, and even have begun to hire bloggers and podcasters. Microsoft's XBox group recently hired Nelson Rodriguez, who ran "Achievement Junkie," one of the most popular podcasts about XBox games. It also hired Rob Greenlee of WebTalk Radio to head up its ZuneCast project, a destination, directory, and discovery tool for tens of thousands of podcasts.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

A Kiss Before Bombing

These pictures are from the Unapologetic Mexican. He says, "Here are images, I wanted to lay them out. As glimpses. Isolated glimpses into another country, one that mostly exists for us in scary soundbytes and media-approved shots of hangings and flame and the dark dark chador and the obscuring burqa. We pump the hot gas of our fear and media worship into those shadowy shapes, because after all, all of us here in the USA are experts at marketing and advertising and image. We take joy in our trade. This is our most intensive area of training.

We are mid-commercial right now. Halfway through the award-winning "Bomb Iran" messaging blitz. I give you a few outtakes that might not make it into the glossy front page spread.

The tricky part about laying out images in a sequence is that, depending on the order, a story wants to connect the previously separate moment. The Glimpse becomes a Thought, and then a Tale. But I did not want to force some clunky narrative...which my hands seemed to want to do no matter how I moved around the pictures. So I ended up initially grouping them by color to solve my problem. That gave me a basic blueprint that I could follow without fear of setting up something too contrived. Let the colors lead the way, let the pigment and the paint and the hue have its say."

A woman looking into Khomeini's tomb.

Meadows as green, flowers as wild.

The mosque in Naqse-Jahan Square in Isfahan.

A Kurdish-Persian wedding.

In Najar, Iran. Kurdistan. People descended from the Medes.

Bolhassan, Iran. The cluster of homes that do not seem ruled by a grid, but rather naturally occurring as groups of people settled near one another. This village of people was chemically bombed by Saddam Hussein with munitions provided by the US in the Iraq-Iran war in 1987 and 1988.

A cooling tower on a museum roof in Kashan, Iran.

Naqse-Jahan Square, Esfahan, Iran.

The Azadi Tower, or "The Freedom Tower."

Bam, Iran. The same year this was taken, an earthquake destroyed the city, taking 40,000 lives.

September 8 is International Literature Day in Iran.

Shirley Temple Day.

A major highway in Tehran. They noticed, and titled it "Inconvenient Evidence."

More Iranian schoolchildren. Probably in California.

Children play outside Ali Qapu Palace, in Esfahan.

Women poking fun at something.

A woman protests against the US-led bombing of Afghanistan.

Sheep graze their way to freedom.

The Grand Bazaar.

Women in Arsanjan mash pomegranates.

God Bless Humanity.